this year the cucumbers never stopped and
would be going still if Ma hadn't taken the
vines out yesterday. since we had a bucket's
worth of them we made even more bread and
butter pickles. i don't know how many quarts
we've done of those, but perhaps 50... not
counting all the cucumbers we've eaten and
given away that's a huge amount from three
the onions are in, i finally got out in the
stiff breeze we had (otherwise the mosquitoes
have been ferocious) and dug them all up (or
at least as many as i could find). about a
bucket full. most of them are between tiny
and a few inches across, planted from a mix of
seeds so there are at least four different
kinds. they could have been thinned a lot
more than i got around to doing, but even the
small ones are good for a garnish and the red
ones are always good for a bit of color. i'm
drying/curing them in flats and then they'll be
stored in the garage for the winter. it does
get below freezing in there so perhaps i'll have
to do something different, but there's also a
really good chance we'll use most of them up
before it gets that cold. yes, we can eat that
many onions (and we've not started on the
pickled beets yet).
squash are also in, Ma decided to take those
vines out even if they were still flowering and
starting small squash. i cooked up a bunch of
the small squash along with some of the most
reject onions that needed something done with
them and a few red peppers too... turned out
yummy. we ate one of the orange colored squash
and i thought it was ok in flavor but i think
squash taste better after they've aged a bit.
the tomatoes are almost done, the only
remaining fruits on the plants are the cherry
tomatoes the rest are all in the garage now
finishing off. Ma said she's going to take
those plants out today. which is good because
i need a spot for the garlic... as usual the
average per plant on the beefsteaks were about
25 - 30 pounds and the cherry tomatoes probably
have been close to that too. it was a pretty
good tomato year. the original plan was that
Ma was going to be giving away the tomatoes
this year, so why we have put up another 80
quarts of tomatoes i dunno, but we've gotten
a lot of laughs out of it. 36 quarts are
already gone (a friend was happy to trade us
for them) and the rest are heading out too
eventually... i hope...
the dry beans are coming in ok, still have
a fair amount to finish up on the plants yet.
the past few weeks have been mild weather with
little rains so that has helped get things
further along. the mild weather has also
meant little breeze so those mosquitoes have
been a challenge to ignore. some days i was
able to cover up so that they couldn't get
through the layers of clothes and other days
i would just go out and pick until i got fed
up with swatting mosquitoes more than i was
picking beans. but the past several days
were windy enough that i could get ahead on
the picking. i have a good supply of pods
picked now so that i can shell and sort on the
days when the weather doesn't cooperate. which
might even be this weekend if the forecast does
actually turn out to be accurate...
carrots and fennel doing well still. the
fennel is just blooming and i'm eating some
of the tops before they bloom. very yummy.
decided to leave the bottoms alone so they
could bloom... not sure how long they'll be
edible if left out.
brussels sprouts... the plants are huge
and we're not even picking them and eating them
as much as we both like them, it's just been
too much other stuff going on so we've not
gotten around to it. as the plants were extras
from my brother we didn't really know what to
do with them and apparently we still don't.
my Ma was going to chop off the plants and take
the whole stalk back to my brother's place so
he can deal with them or eat them as it would
be a good laugh, but he can't eat that many
ok, well that's enough of this ramble. time
to have a bit of breakfast and then out to walk
and whatever puttering i can get into for the
We only get skeeter bit infrequently. Lots of purple martins, swallows,
and then the bats at night over the retention pond area. Neat to see
them swooping about eating bugs. I still put on repellent because I seem
to have developed an allergy to skeeter bites. Probably some more
problems brought on by all the different meds the quacks have me on.
i have a good supply of pods
What do you do with fennel? We grew it some years ago and didn't care
for the taste so quit.
Brussels sprouts are not grown in my garden, I just do not like them at
all. Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, chard, all taste good to me but not
I'm seriously thinking of a nap at this point in the day, Tilly Dawg is
snoring on the couch in my office and it is so peaceful. Unfortunately I
have a writing gig at the moment and it is due tomorrow so it's back to
i'm rarely out in the gardens in the early
evening or the early morning when most of the
mosquitoes are out, but with some heavy rains
about a month ago that set up a surge of
mosquitoes that would be out in the mid-day
or all day which is unusual. for me to get
bit at all is unusual too. luckily if i do
get bit i don't swell up much if i catch the
bite soon enough that they've not had much
time to inject their anticoagulants... we've
been laughing about it because i can be a few
feet away from Ma and she won't be getting
bit at all and they'll be dive-bombing me.
i've read all sorts of things about what
attracts and detracts mosquitoes. can't say
much as it seems even if i don't breath
they'll still find me.
i use it for the same thing i'd use celery
when cooking. like it with sausage, especially
a good italian sausage and roasted red peppers
and onions all fried up. yes, the taste is odd
and if you don't like licorice or anise like
flavors it's not going to appeal. i really do
like black licorice so eating a flowering top
right before the flowers open is rather intense
and to me it's even better than the candy. the
bees seem to like it too.
to me a sprout is just a strong cabbage and i
like cabbage and sprouts so they're good, but
as of yet they're still out there and not being
:) hope you got it finished?
this is the crazy season here, but it is going ok.
the project list is gradually being whittled down.
garden stuff i can work on right up until the
ground freezes and some things i can't do until the
plants have gone dormant for the season.
a nap would be nice, but it's time for bed here
and tomorrow starts early.
Could make a batch of miniature sauerkraut - perhaps whack them in half,
salt, weight, and wait (or mix them in with actual shredded cabbage.)
Don't know for sure, but I finally decided to make some home-made
sauerkraut this year for the heck of it (I don't like most things in the
cabbage family, but I do like sauerkraut, so I think something leaves in
the fermentation that's what I don't like.) Got some test-batches going
in mason-jars, should be done in time to assess if I really want to
scale up when the late-fall cabbages come in (well, none of my own, but
from farms - perhaps next year my own if this turns out OK.)
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
I made kraut last fall, first time in many years that the fermenting
didn't go bad and grow hair. Came out pretty good. Used a sterilized
plastic bucket, bottled water, canning salt. Ended up with four quarts,
enough to satisfy our kraut hunger for at least a year. Wife liked it
better than I did, particularly when I bought some bratwurst to go with.
I think that sterilizing everything first and using non-iodized salt,
keeping a close eye on the bucket (which had a cloth over it) and
dipping out anything that looked odd did the job. Probably won't make
anymore as I found that my kraut taste was gone and wife only eats it
once in awhile. Good luck on your fermentation.
Oh yeah, I live in Harris Cty, TX, heat zone 8b.
On Saturday, October 3, 2015 at 5:54:03 PM UTC-4, George Shirley wrote:
About a dozen years ago we made a batch of kraut with red cabbage. Tasted t
he same, just looked more decorative. If you make a batch, avoid iron as it
turns the red cabbage blue, sort of like the litmus paper in high school c
hemistry class. The stainless steel knives and shredding blades didn't both
er it, but when we put some in a cast iron skillet, it turned blue.
Keeping it clean and effectively air-locked seems to be the best route
and traditional in many places where it's a staple, with fancy airlock
crocks as opposed to the open-top cloth over arrangement that somehow
became USA standard. I had just come off of processing 50 pounds of
plums (after 20 years of "perhaps a plum, perhaps 2", the trees went big
this year) so I was refreshed on the "a properly tightened (not
over-tightened) canning jar lid vents gas pressure but does not let air
back in" from all the canning, and carefully ignored all the bad advice
to "burp" canning jar kraut (or the other "advice," mostly obviously
paid, for buying airlock tops for canning jars). It's bubbled away
without blowing up just as the plums in the canner did. Since it's a
huge apple year as well, I also tried the "add 25% apples" step that is
evidently traditional in some areas on several of the jars.
The only one with grot on it is a literal science experiment where the
experimental variation was salt level, and the one at a dubiously high
salt level has some white mold on top. That was also done with red
cabbage, and you can see it getting pinker as the lactic acid forms,
more swiftly in the one at 2% salt, slowly at 4% salt, and hardly at all
at 8% salt where the mold is showing up. Those also involved student
help in the experimental setup and sanitation might not be so good as a
If your cabbage is not dried out, you should not need any water at all -
shredded cabbage mixed with 2% salt (by weight of cabbage or cabbage and
other stuff - apples, carrots, etc.) should develop enough brine to
cover (when it's packed down and weighted) in about 30 minutes. Some
claimed that was more reliable with "farmers market" than "store-bought"
due to store-bought being held for longer, but the red used for the
science experiment was store-bought and made plenty of brine despite
If going with a larger batch in a plastic bucket I would use a lid and
an airlock; from the home-brew store, not from overpriced pickle
suppliers... ;-) But I need to wait a couple more weeks to see how I
actually like the first small batch before I contemplate going there.
I did use non-iodized salt.
The advice for "airlock-type" kraut I'm more-or-less following went
something like: Sterilize the crock (jar, whatever) and don't touch it
for 2 months (at 60-70F). The lack of air (displaced by CO2 early in the
process) is supposed to keep the problem of things growing on the
surface from occurring. With the jars, of course, I can look - and other
than the one, which probably did not produce so much CO2, or not at a
fast rate, since it is at a salt level the lactobacillus don't consider
friendly, there isn't any yuck going on there.
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
Please don't feed the trolls. Killfile and ignore them so they will go away.
I did the kraut with a tight fitting sanitized dinner plate upside down
on the top of the kraut. Watched the process daily and skimmed a little
scum off as it worked. The cabbage was home grown and very "juicy" so no
water was added. If water had been needed I was prepared to go with
sterilized, ie. boiled, water rather than tap water, which here is
somewhat iffy as to sterility.
Had thought about buying the stuff you recommend but we just don't eat
enough kraut to justify the purchase. Probably won't make any more kraut
for a few years. Grands and great grands won't even tough kraut so we
don't make it often.
Every time I think fall is actually here Ma Nature messes things up. Got
up to 71F this morning and here it is 1300 CST and the repeating
thermometer says it is over 90F out there. Bah! Humbug! Doe season is
i don't look at the forecast for one day and things
change a lot. now we have some nights that will be
down in the 30sF coming up so i'll have to get those
peppers picked before then.
a few days ago must have been the early season for
deer hunting starting because it was like a war zone
with all the guns going off in the morning. been
quiet since then so perhaps they got 'em all (joke! --
i know they haven't!)...
On Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 10:57:15 AM UTC-4, Ecnerwal wrote:
For an airlock, I use a plastic bag filled with water and tied. It goes ins
ide another plastic bag just in case of leaks. The bag is big enough to cov
er the surface of the fermenting kraut and press around the edge of the cro
ck to keep water out. It's flexible enough to let the fermentation gas esca
pe and the weight of the water keeps the kraut pressed below the surface of
the fluid in the crock so it doesn't go bad.
On Friday, October 9, 2015 at 6:13:31 PM UTC-4, George Shirley wrote:
inside another plastic bag just in case of leaks. The bag is big enough to
cover the surface of the fermenting kraut and press around the edge of the
crock to keep water out. It's flexible enough to let the fermentation gas
escape and the weight of the water keeps the kraut pressed below the surfac
e of the fluid in the crock so it doesn't go bad.
I'll try the inverted plate idea next time I make kraut.
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